List of grievances I would love ZOS to address (Draft)

Picking some nits:

  • My buddy couldn’t summon his banker in my house. I don’t have a banker. Fix pls.
  • Logging out in the house should be instant (fixed in 3.0.0).
  • Logging out in Belkarth should be instant.
  • Logging out at the wayshrine in Wayrest should be instant.
  • Logging out at the undaunted refuges should be instant.
  • There are probably some other places that need to be fixed too. Instant logouts pls.
  • The length of time between scenes in Belkarth and Rawlka should be increased. (Yeah, yeah, cry ZOS a river, maybe I’ll float out of Craglorn).
  • The provisioning writ for psijic ambrosia only grants 10 vouchers, but requires you to craft 8 of them. It should require only 1 (which puts it on par with similar gear writs), or grant more like 30 vouchers. Right now it’s 23k cost to craft which is insane (much higher cost per voucher than anything).
  • Mount walking: Character sits up straight, looks confident. Good riding position. Mount running: Character is crouched over like a jockey but not so high in the saddle. Looks uncomfortable. Pls gib mount walking animation for faster speeds.

ZOS Pls

  • Certain furnishing patterns exist but do not drop. Others drop so rarely that they might as well not. I don’t know what you did to screw up the leveled lists (really, leveled lists are not that hard, see my previous post), but fix pls. I need my common teapot. I needs it.
  • Dungeon finder. How hard can it be? How did you even manage to break it between 1T and homestead? You didn’t touch it! (PS in case you never use the dungeon finder, here’s what happens:
    • You queue for a dungeon. There are no tanks and few healers queuing, so if you are a dps, it takes an hour or two to get a group.
      • This could be fixed by giving bonus rewards for tanks and healers queuing, like every other MMO with a queue has realized is necessary.
    • When you hit accept, half the time you get “group is not viable”. Now I was assuming this just meant that someone else didn’t accept, but apparently it means ZOS put 3 dps and a healer in a group and then went “psych”. If this is actually the case… wtf.
      • Why are you even attempting to put a group together if people can’t do the roles.
    • You land in the dungeon. The game immediately tells you you are not in your group’s instance and starts teleporting you out. This is the new bug. This happens even though you can see your group right there goddamnit.
    • At this point, at least one group member (usually the tank, of course), doesn’t realize that you can just… you know… teleport back into the dungeon and do the damn thing.
    • Once you do manage to get four people in the same instance you quickly realize:
      • The tank has either way too little (less than 25k) or way too much (more than 35k) health to do their role. The latter is preferable because at least it means they’re thinking about tanking even if they have no idea of how to go about it. The former is usually a dps who queued as tank.
      • Alternatively, one of the other three simply has no idea how their role works at all.
      • At least one of the members has never seen a soul gem in their life.
      • At least one member has less than 16k health (if it’s vet) and refuses to eat food.
      • No one admits they’ve never been there before so you can explain the fights to them. Eventually you wipe on a boss, and someone goes “yeah I don’t know this fight”. Thanks dude. You could have told me before we wiped.
    • Despite all this, you eventually completed the dungeon. If you queued for a random dungeon, you would now expect to get undaunted rewards. However apparently these don’t always get mailed out. gg.
    • Now, I don’t know the technical basis for the technical issues. I’m sure it’s all fixable, because it worked correctly before, and it works correctly in every other game I’ve played.
    • For the societal/game knowledge issues, there are a few fixes.
      • The afore-mentioned bonus for tanks. of course this will exacerbate not-tanks queuing as tanks. So, some ideas:
        • Require that a character have equipped, before they queue:
          • as tank, they must have a useable taunt spell on their bar. Period. Frost staff doesn’t count. Or, this would be easier to code, they must have a sword and shield, or a frost staff, equipped on at least one bar.
          • As healer, they must have a single resto staff equipped.
          • As dps, they must have one weapon that is not a resto staff or a frost staff or a sword and board (one bar can be. We encourage different builds, after all).
          • Downsides: would discourage/prevent dual queueing. :-/
          • Downsides: Entirely technical. Doesn’t fix social aspects or game knowledge problems. Likely to lead to all kinds of horrible bugs.
      • For all of the above… give good kick reasons. And make kicks stack.
        • Kick reasons should include:
          • “not performing selected role”
          • “rude”
          • “afk”
          • “Insufficient Skill” (like in other games, this is a fake kick. It does remove the person from the dungeon, but never gives a cooldown timer or counts against the player. Perfect for when you get a level 10 in nCoS).
        • By stacking I mean:
          • If you leave, you always get a 15 minute timer.
          • The first time you get kicked, no timer. You can queue again immediately.
          • The second time you get kicked within a 4 hour period, you get a 15 minute timer before you can requeue.
          • Every subsequent kick, the timerย  increases by 5 minutes. (So by kick 5 you’re waiting 30 minutes before you can queue again).
          • The timer slowly decays. So if it took you 12 hours to build up a 30 minute timer, it will be another 12 hours of not getting kicked before you’re back to no timer. Or something like that.
          • If you get kicked a lot, like, 10 times in 48 hours, you get a permanent debuff to your timer. (“permanent” – like a month or so of good behavior = it goes away).
          • Numbers subject to someone who actually does game design to work out.
        • Encourage people to actually ask questions if they don’t know. Like on loading screen tips. Or the first time they join a dungeon they haven’t been in, Flash across their screen “Haven’t been here? Be sure to ask the other players for advice!”
  • Minor Staminasteal
  • Built in text search for guild stores
  • Increased furnishing limit for large houses. For small and medium the existing limits are fine. For large it’s like “I paid 3x the price for… 100 more items. Yay.” It just straight up takes more items to decorate a house that’s 5x the size. Fancy that. Also having the same player limits for large and medium houses is a copout. Oh, and crown store houses are even more bigger and they’re exclusives so, like, they should have a super special item limit.
  • Provisioning and Alchemy writs. I shouldn’t need to craft cp 100 food for my master provisioning writs. Oh, and I shouldn’t need nirnroot every.single.day. Fix pls.

Big things

  • The bidding system for guild stores needs a complete rework.
  • Cyrolag.
  • Gear cap
  • 2H weapons
  • Hard normals
  • Training dungeon

Oops need to set up my experiment. BBL.

 

 

 

Thoughts on ESO pts: Part 2, The New State of Healing

First of all: Thee changes were unveiled to the public less than 48 hours ago. ZOS does very large iterations on pts. Usually the initial changes are quite large and they renege or mitigate them very heavily in the weeks between pts and live

Not to say you shouldn’t speak out – feedback is crucial. Just… don’t make any decisions you’ll regret based on these changes. Wait until you actually play with it on live – that is, mid June is the earliest you should delete your Templar. ๐Ÿ˜›

Secondly: I haven’t even downloaded the pts. I’m basing my thoughts on the patch notes and vague statements by friends. Things don’t work on the pts the way they’re meant to, so obviously you’ll go “whut that’s just wrong go on the pts and try it out”. But on the other hand, things don’t work on the pts the way they’re meant to, so… I dunno. Point is, this is all based on publicly available information.

  • Major mending

Templars were the only class (besides DKs, but no one healed on DK anyways) with access to major mending. (Resto staff provides major mending for 2 seconds after heavy attack but anyone who has actually played the game knows why that is irrelevant). Major mending increases all healing done by 25%. It will be replaced by minor mending (which is currently available only through 5 pc set bonuses), which increases all healing done by 8%. So templars will be doing ~14% less healing than before (their healing is buffed by 17% less).

This is something that the community has asked for, or so I’ve been told. People were concerned about health “rubberbanding” – you’ve all seen it, where a tank or a dps can be down to 1k health and immediately full with one or two spells. Perhaps the nerf is overkill.

The real concern here is that wardens do have access to major mending, and with a pretty damn good uptime too. So we’re back to “new class is OP”. Which, like I said before, I think is necessary. But it might be overkill.

Of course, we’re early in pts yet. and guess what? Warden’s access to major mending will get nerfed. We’ll probably see those changes in a week or two.

I would like to point out that major mending isn’t necessary to heal well. Oooh, I know. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, try healing vet HM rakkhat without it, etc. etc.”

But let’s look at the numbers.

Breath of Life does 10k on tooltip with “typical” healer stats. This translates to about 14k once you take into account CP (and my argonian passives ๐Ÿ˜€ ). About 18k with major mending. About 22k crit without major mending/party buffs, and my biggest heal yet was 32k on a tank that had + healing percent stacked and all buffs and so on.

Keep in mind: DPS typically have around 18k health and tanks around 30k.

Is it a good design choice for a healer to be able to instantly heal all dps to full, and two heals for a tank? Is that necessary to complete content?

I don’t think so. Keep in mind, even without major mending you just need one BoL + a tick of a hot, and two BoL + a tick for a tank. It’s not that big a nerf, as it turns out – it might make hots a little more important since you can’t top people off with only BoL.

Now, I’ve been told that wardens have heals that are almost as strong (9k on tooltip), but still have access to major mending and all that. Soo…. there might be a consideration there.

If Major mending is essential to complete content, then all classes should have access to it. Easy fix – make the resto staff passive last for 10 seconds instead of 2.

If Major mending is too OP, perhaps it should be nerfed across the board. Make it only a 15% buff instead of 25%. Or even more interesting – Templars get “Major Cure” which increases direct healing by 20%, while Wardens (and nightblades pls) get “Major Remedy” which increases HoTs by 25%. Resto staff can give “Minor Mending” (the existing buff) for 10 seconds.

  • Positional requirements

I think this was uncalled for. While Wardens do have stricter positional requirements than Templars, one of the core features of templars was the ability to instantly save anyone, no matter how bad their allies screwed up their positioning (Ok one lie, I did have one pug that would constantly run behind a rock when I was trying to heal him, but there’s no saving that).

I was excited about this of course, because if you recall I’m a sorc main, and if you recall pet heal has no positional requirements (of course it does require you keep your bloody pet alive, but that isn’t that hard anymore).

Regardless I’ve been told this change isn’t actually on pts right now so who knows what’s up with that.-

  • Shards and Orbs

On top of the across the board sustain changes hitting stam dps and most particularly tanks the hardest, this is what hurt people the most. Of course, it had me cheering out loud because let’s be honest, restoring stam is the only thing templar had that made them the only possible healer, and like I said, I don’t think templars should be the only possible healer for all eternity. That’s bad game design. Now my sorc can finally do everything a templar can do, just not quite as well, which is as it should be.

This really brings it on par with other utility spells. My favorite example is surge/entropy. Surge is obviously a much better spell than entropy, but all classes can use entropy.

Shards is still obviously a much better spell than Orbs, but now it’s no longer utterly unique and the only thing that can play its role.

What’s interesting is that people are (mostly) not concerned about the fact that this makes templars no longer unique. They’re worried about it from a dps perspective – how will I be able to guarantee I get back the resource I need?

That’s obviously a learn to play issue. Just roll dodged? Maybe skip this shards and get the next one. Just cast surge? Wait until you’re at the point in your rotation when your magicka is back to full and then grab the shards so you can get stam.

If it really does become an issue that can’t be solved by l2p, then there’s a few things ZOS can do to ensure it doesn’t hurt groups. They can decrease the cooldown on the synergy – I think they should do this anyways, to be honest. It’s kind of painfully long, and they’re nerfing how much it actually restores quite a bit too.

The other thing I think this game really needs is minor stamina steal. That would bring stamina dps – which, let’s face it, don’t need the nerfs they’re getting – back into raids, I think. And we have a very convenient, never ever used ability to put it on – Quick Siphon. This makes a lot of sense to me – Ele Drain on the destro staff for minor magicka steal, quick siphon on the destro staff for minor stamina steal. Healer provides both to buff the whole group.

Anyways.

Are templars dead?

No, they still have the strongest burst heal in the game, a superior version of shards, and oh yeah they’re still fantastic magicka dps and tanks.

Are wardens gonna be stronger than templars? they certainly seem to be right now, but that’s extremely subject to change.

Can sorcs and NBs finally heal their little hearts out? Oh yeah. Finally.

Thoughts on ESO pts: Part one, where I’m coming from

People often like to split up gamers into “hardcore” or “casual” and I don’t fit in either of those groups.

I’ve been playing MMOs for 10 years. Everything from WoW to Aion to Warhammer Online (remember that?) among others. (Although I’ll admit, I haven’t played FF, GW2, or SWTOR). And while I often take hiatus, when I am actively playing it’s usually 30+ hours a week, doing all activities in game (questing, group PvE, PvP, etc) to varying degrees.

Not only that but I am active in the community – while I don’t post on the forums much, I have a posting history on reddit and I am always talking about the game on discord, in zone chat, online or offline.

I’m also pretty competent. I listen to directions well, I research everything, I’m a completionist, and I like improving my character.

So most people would say I’m a hardcore player.

Truth is, I’m not. I don’t really care about minmaxing – while I like making my build better, I’ll happily eschew fotm abilities I don’t like or use weaker abilities that I do. I also kinda suck – I should easily be pulling 30k dps on dummy with my build, but I’m happy if I hit 20k (and the actual number I hit is very variable). It’s mostly disinterest in practicing – something that has always been a defining trait. I’m also not particularly good at raiding – despite raiding through most of Wrath in WoW, I never did kill the lich king, and I have no interest in joining trials guilds in ESO despite offers to help me get in.

So I’m in this awkward place where I’m invested in the game enough to understand and care about end game progression without actually having any interest in doing it.

Anyways. Most of my group time is spent running dungeons with players who are assuredly in the top 25%, some of whom are in the top 2%, and every so often pugging groups that are most decidedly in the bottom 25%.

Just to give an example: In the course of two days I healed, on the same character, WGT twice. The first: normal WGT with a group of 3 pugged dps, none of whom had done a dungeon before, none of whom had any idea what their builds should look like or interest in learning, two of whom had no idea how to res other players, and one of whom didn’t have any soul gems anyways. The second: vet HM WGT, with a very very experienced tank and dps, a second dps who, like myself, had never been there before but knew his shit. Guess which run was easier?

Anyways. I’m not here to shit on pugs.

Here’s my main:

sorc healer.png

Healer #2:

Screenshot_20170421_185316.png

And I also have a stamplar/tank.

To the point.

In my perspective there are a few important paradigms that are necessary to explain why my perspective on any given set of patch notes might be different (in some cases very different) than others.

Change is essential to a healthy game.

A lot of people are approaching these patch notes with the perspective that change is bad. And that’s understandable – change is scary, if nothing else. I don’t agree.

To explain this, let me lay out a few potentialities for any game of sufficient complexity:

  1. The game is perfectly balanced – all classes are equally good at all roles.

I don’t believe that this is possible. If the game is sufficiently complex, it becomes very difficult to give all the classes equivalent tools (while keeping them all different, which is important, because if they’re just palette swaps on the same tools, they aren’t actually different classes). While it is theoretically possible, I don’t think it’s actually possible. Anyone who expects this to be the case is inexperienced in game design at best.

  1. The game is unbalanced.
  • All classes have a niche – while no class can do all roles, every class has a role that is relevant in PvE and in PvP.
    • I think this is the best case scenario – while your class might not be the hottest dps/healer, at least they can do something.
  • Some classes are best at everything/ some classes have no suitable role in some content.
    • This is obviously not ok. ESO doesn’t do that, but…

All games are going to be in that latter category somewhere. In ESO, you have one class that is the only potential healer and one class that is the only potential tank. (That’s oversimplifying, obviously, but it’s what’s best). Every class has a good dps spec for pvp and for pve, although some classes (poor nightblades) are categorically worse in every case.

Now, this isn’t inherently bad, but keep in mind it means – if you want to be a healer, you only ever have to roll one character. (Now, most healers I know don’t only have one character, but they could get away with it). No matter what situation you’re in, that class is the best choice for healing.

I don’t think that’s good. Rolling alts is a central part of MMOs. It keeps people invested in the game, keeps them thinking, and the goal of a game designer should be to incentivize rolling alts.

(Now lots people don’t waaaannna roll alts, to which I answer: if this game is not good enough for you to play it twice, is it really good enough for you to play it once? Do you never read books twice? Play single player games twice?)

Also, it means that if you really would like to try healing on a different class – something that a core feature of ESO – you’re… just categorically worse. There’s no reason to ever be anything other than a templar.

Which brings me to: Change is good.

It’s not possible to make all classes equally good. One class will always be the best at something. There will always be a FotM.

If you can’t remove FotM, the next best thing is for the FotM to rotate. Changing which class/spec is the primo for any given role, while still ensuring that every class has at least one role that is playable (remember, that’s very important) does a lot of things. It gives every main a chance at the limelight, regardless of which class you want to play. It forces minmaxers to roll alts once in a while.

Obviously change overly often is bad. However, knocking the Fot-last-two-years off their pedestals, finally, with a major version change? That’s not too often.

New classes should be OP on release.

I honestly can’t think of a single new class release that wasn’t OP. I guess Monks in WoW weren’t that insane, but… I mean, even in LoL where there’s a new champion every few months, they’re pretty much always OP on release (the exception is of course, when the champion has a very high skill floor and takes several months for people to learn it and realize it’s secretly OP).

Why?

There’s no incentive for people to move out of their comfort zone otherwise. Like, yeah, you have the people who are going to roll a billion alts and have two of every class (Hi), they’re obviously gonna go for it. And the ones who really wanted a class just like the new release all along and are thrilled to finally get it. But most people just won’t bother – who wants to go through leveling an alt, gearing, getting used to all the new skills and rotation, if it’s the same or worse as what you had before?

And encouraging people to try new classes is essential. There is absolutely no reason to waste the vast quantities of dev time (New classes absolutely has to be the #1 use of dev time – it requires balancing, art, a huge amount of creativity, etc.) if people aren’t going to spend time on it.

Of course that doesn’t mean the new class should be OP forever. Almost every example I could think of got heavily nerfed ~2 months after release. To levels where they were balanced (although I’m sure the people who just spent a million gold gearing said alts didn’t see it that way). A bit of patience goes a long way.

Anyways. I’m rambling. I had more to say here but I’ve forgotten it (along with the bit to mention that I have 3 templars, so y’know). Next post will get into the specifics.

Scripts are good, mmkay?

There are 10x as many scripts in the vanilla game as there is in even a pretty heavy load order. Yes, mod scripts are likely to be doing much heavier things, things papyrus was not built to do particularly well. And modders aren’t all professional programmers and may make pretty bad scripts sometimes.

But overall, scripts aren’t out to eat your save games and shit on your bed. They’re an essential part of everything from dialogue and quests to casting a spell to that really cool swirling wind effect when Alduin shows up. Not to mention freezing/starving to death, draining stamina, placing weapons on your back, putting snowberries on a bookshelf, and so on and so forth.

So when I see someone say they heard “there’s a limit of only three or four scripted mods in a stable game” a single tear rolls down my cheek.

It’s like not eating baklava because you think it has fish in it.

Oh, and all my time troubleshooting, I’ve seen maybe 10 CTDs caused by scripts, and those were really, really obvious.

Even if scripts are badly written, they do not cause CTDs. Stack dumps, scripts failing to calculate, lag, save bloat, and even (eventually) save corruption can be caused by scripts, but just a straight-up CTD is exceedingly rare. The vast majority of people will never see a CTD caused by a haywire script.

If you are crashing, do not show me your papyrus log. Period. It is not relevant. I do want to see your memory blocks log though.

If you have some other issue that is not crashing, you can go ahead and share (your entire) papyrus log. Read this first though.

Myths and Legends: LOOT

I hear a lot of Myths about LOOT. I hear it’s the perfect load order tool, and if you run LOOT your game will never have any bugs. I hear it’s a horrible mess, and running LOOT will turn your load order into a massive pile of sewage. I even hear that LOOT never does anything and why do people recommend it? (On that last one: Learn the difference between mods and plugins, mmkay?)

Thing is LOOT isn’t Jesus come to save us and it’s not a pile of dog poo either. It’s a massive crowdsourcing project.

Like this piece of music: https://crowdsound.net/

It’s not a bad song, but there’s some places where you just don’t understand why it made the decisions it made. Got caught in a loop or something.

And it’s pretty cool for something that’s totally free and all crowd sourced.

Firstly:

LOOT does not solve bugs. LOOT sorts plugins to the best of its ability to do so. And it reports issues, if those issues have been reported to LOOT. Right? LOOT can’t know things it doesn’t know. It’s not magic.

LOOT cannot replace your own reading on incompatibility, looking in TES5edit at mod overwrites, looking for errors, etc. If you say “I ran LOOT I don’t know why it’s buggy”, I’m going to take quick look to see if you actually ran LOOT, then tell you to go look for bugs.

Secondly:

LOOT does not do a bad job sorting. It does a fantastic job sorting. I know just about all there is to know about mods ๐Ÿ˜‰ and I still can’t sort a load order as well as LOOT can, with all the tools available to me.

Some people claim LOOT doesn’t sort mods correctly. This is also a Myth. Because guess what? Half the time, LOOT actually DOES sort the damned thing correctly and you just think otherwise because you’re wrong, or you didn’t actually try it, or some other reason. The other half the time, it’s because LOOT didn’t know it was doing anything wrong. LOOT only knows what it knows.

You are the crowd.

Go tell it what to do on Github and quit your pointless bitching.

The above thoughts also apply to Mod Picker (which I promise is coming out Soon TM and at this point that is a Riot Soon TM and not a Blizzard one and I’m sorry).

Myths and Legends: Papyrus Ini Settings

It’s well established in the community that some ini settings should never be changed. For the most part, this is true. Increasing ugrids to load WILL decrease the stability of your game. Adding HWHavokThreads WILL (probably) do literally nothing.

And yet, there is the pervasive Myth that some settings will improve your game’s performance, or at least prevent stack dumps. The Legends of the community will tell you the opposite – that changing these settings will actually INCREASE the likelihood of stack dumps.

The truth might be a little more subtle.

However, nothing will improve the stability of the scripting engine as much as using fewer, and better-written, mods.

fPostLoadUpdateTimeMS=500

No one thinks this setting is unsafe. It will increase your loading screen by the time listed, in this case half a second (the default value). I’d recommend leaving it less than 1000, as large values may noticeably increase loading screen time.

fUpdateBudgetMS=1.2
fExtraTaskletBudgetMS=1.2

This setting controls how much time per frame papyrus gets to do its thing. Each frame, when at 60 fps, is 16.67 ms. 1.2 ms of that is taken for Papyrus to do its calculations. The remainder goes to other calculations, and the largest chunk of it to drawing the frame. If you’re struggling to stay at 60 fps, it’s because your computer can’t do everything it needs to do (calculations and rendering) in 16 ms. If you’re well over 60 fps and have to cap it, your computer has no problem drawing the frame in 16 ms.

My understanding is that any papyrus steps that do not get completed in the time set by this setting get pushed to the next frame. After getting pushed past a certain number of frames, the script may fail to run or will certainly fail to do what it was supposed to do in a timely fashion. If the game decides a script is frozen altogether because it hasn’t had a chance to do its thing in a very, very long time, it may dump it. That’s bad.

If your computer is running at lower frames, scripts will take longer to run too. Remember, they only get a certain amount of time per frame. If your computer is taking 30 ms to draw a frame, papyrus only gets 25 ms every second to do its thing. If your computer is taking only 16 ms to draw a frame, papyrus gets 50 ms out of every second to do its thing. Everything is smoother at higher frame rate!

However, more things to do in papyrus will not decrease frame rate, because of that little setting up there. It prevents a laggy or badly written script from taking over and freezing the game – the game will not wait for the script.

So. What happens when we increase that setting? Papyrus can use more time. Unlike the load screen thing, it doesn’t have to use more time. It just can.

Let’s say we increase it by 25%. A nice conservative change.

Papyrus gets 25% more time to process. Everything else you need to do to get a frame drawn in 16.67 ms gets 0.3 ms less to process. Doesn’t seem real significant, does it? It’s a big boon to papyrus if it happens to need all that time, and a tiny change in how much time your computer gets to draw a frame, if it uses all that time.

Let’s say your computer is really struggling. You’re at 30 frames, and you know scripts aren’t running in a timely fashion.

That change will reduce your framerate. But, it will overall increase how much time papyrus gets… at the cost of everything else!

If your computer’s really breezing along, and you’d be at 100 fps if you didn’t have to cap it to 60… your computer can process a frame in 10 ms. You have to cap it at 60. Why not give an extra 5 ms to papyrus? If it needs it, you’ll still be above 60 fps. If it doesn’t need it, you’ll be exactly where you were before. Your scripts may run in fewer frames (they may not), leading to an overall performance improvement and more stable gameplay.

But if your game gets a particularly difficult to process scene, with a lot of scripts and a lot of things to compute… it’s suddenly going to chug much, much harder. Not only will it take more time to draw the frame, but papyrus will demand that time too instead of patiently waiting its turn.

And if you think that papyrus is going to take a full 800 ms to process anything, per frame? Just turn that shit off. You’re saying papyrus gets to take almost an entire second just to do its stuff it if it needs it? If your game is ever at that degree of laggy, it is literally unplayable.

And that’s why you should never set these the way the popular Myths will have you do it.

But nor should you shun them in fear, despite what the Legends tell you, because they’re not actually that scary.

iMinMemoryPageSize=128
iMaxMemoryPageSize=512

These are how much memory is devoted to hold skyrim processes. Anyone who’s ever thought “Wildcat is only 76 kb download? That can’t be right!” has come across the fact that scripts are really small. They don’t require that much memory to process either.

The first two control the size of stacks for papryus to allocate. The way this works might remind you of the way the familiar SKSE patch works, except this only for papyrus (and it’s stacks, not heaps. See discussion below). Also, those values are literally six orders of magnitude smaller, because they’re in bytes, not megabytes. Also, unlike the skse patch, THIS ALLOCATOR IS NOT BROKEN.

Repeat after me:

Papyrus Memory allocation IS NOT BROKEN.

So there’s no need to increase the stack size! It will fucking allocate a new stack when it needs to! You don’t need to make bigger stacks, because it can make more stacks!

Anyways. No reason to mess with these then. According to the CK wiki:

“iMinMemoryPageSize is the smallest amount of memory the VM will allocate for a single stack page, in bytes. Smaller values will waste less memory on small stacks, but larger values will reduce the number of allocations for stacks with many small frames (which improves performance).”

Decreasing = less memory wasteage, perhaps important if your Skyrim uses more than 3.1 GB (Seriously, if your skyrim ever uses more than 3.1 GB of RAM, screenshot that shit, I want to see it! And your modlist! Please!)

Increasing = fewer allocations, better performance – which is probably not noticeable because allocation is not really the slow part of the skyrim engine in most cases.

“iMaxMemoryPageSize is the largest amount of memory the VM will allocate for a single stack page, in bytes. Smaller values may force the VM to allocate more pages for large stack frames. Larger values may cause the memory allocator to allocate differently, decreasing performance for large stack frames.”

Decreasing = more allocations, less performance

Increasing = broken memory allocation, less performance.

So. DON’T TOUCH THESE.

It doesn’t help, and it can certainly hurt.

I guess I just agreed with the Myth, eh? Well that’s the problem with Myths. Most of them have a grain of truth.

iMaxAllocatedMemoryBytes=76800

Last one. This is the maximum amount of stack size. So Skyrim can only use 75 kb of memory for Papyrus. That’s…. not a whole lot.

But there’s a reason it’s not a whole lot. Scripts are tiny. Real tiny. Even all 76 kb of Wildcat doesn’t need 75 kb to process at anyone time.

But still… Skyrim… with a lot of mods… that’s a lot of scripts. Even if they’re tiny that can all add up. What if papyrus needs more and can’t allocate it?

It waits for memory to be freed, and then it uses it. Waiting = slower scripts, and eventually, if your game is that overloaded, stack dumps.

So why don’t we increase it?

Because if you make it bigger, you get stack thrashing, and stack thrashing causes stack dumps, and that’s bad.

(I can’t actually explain stack thrashing, I read the whole wikipedia article on it and I’m still not really sure what it is other than “buffer overflow”, and I can’t explain what a buffer overflow is, other than it’s bad. It’s real bad. It’s a heck of a lot worse than waiting on a slow script).

Again, small increases might give papyrus a little more breathing room without harming it too much. 25%. Maybe 50%. But doubling it? Increasing it by 9 orders of magnitude? (I’m not kidding. I wish I was kidding). Don’t do that.

Probably it’s important right now to note the difference between Stacks (what all that discussion up there was about) and Heaps (which is what the SKSE memory patch edits).

Stacks are quick memory used for active calculations. They’re allocated, the calculation gets done, and they go away. Easy.

Heaps are slow memory used for storing things, like objects and variables. They’re allocated, lots of different stacks access them to do different things, and they don’t get cleared. They stay there and the heaps slowly grow as new objects get named.

That’s why stacks are so much smaller, and why it’s really not a big deal to have a slightly-too-small max number of stacks (because it’ll just go away and then you can make a new stack). And why it’s a big deal to have a slightly-too-small heap size.

So – the Myth has some truth, and some falsehood. Or maybe depending on which Myth you read, it was all false or all true. There’s a lot of different Myths. But written here, is the truth, as best I know it.

Myths and Legends: Autosaves and Quicksaves

TES is a universe built on Myths and Legends. Or Legends that are Myths. Or Myths that are really Legends. Everything is true and not true at the same time. It’s a great universe to create in.

No surprise that Myths about modding are just as common.

There is an extremely popular myth that the default skyrim autosaves and quicksaves do not properly stop scripts and therefore will cause CTDs? Save bloat? Stack dumps? The actual symptom is different every time the myth is repeated. (A common problem with myths). Only going to the skyrim menu and saving from there will result in a safe save. Or the console. That works too.

This is most certainly a myth. First of all, anyone can test for themselves that quicksaves and autosaves do indeed stop scripts from running, identical to going to the main menu. If you turn on papyrus logging and go to make a quicksave, you can easily see the “VM is freezing” and “VM is thawing” messages that indicated scripts were stopped, recorded, and restarted. This happens regardless of type of save.

No, the rendering engine doesn’t stop, but the rendering engine doesn’t get baked into a save, now does it?

Secondly, there’s this excellent breakdown of why this is an utterly ridiculous thing to even think in the first place, by Merad.

To quote:

“The whole ” script running while saving” thing, however, is moronic. Creating a save requires capturing a snapshot of the world state to a file. If you allow the world state to be altered while you are saving it, of course you will end up with blatant corruption everywhere. That’s the kind of mistake that a sophomore CS major should know to avoid. I find it hard to believe that Beth could have devs that stupid, and also hard to believe that the game would function at all if it was written that way.”

Now where did this myth come from?

There’s a few possibilities.

  1. Windows corrupted files when it was handling the IO of writing a save. While unlikely, windows does corrupt files and especially on older computers this is possible. My understanding is that this is more likely if you’re overwriting files.

  2. The saves got corrupted because of skyrim/mod bugs, and people who relied only on autosaves and quicksaves didn’t have old backup saves to go to.

  3. Overwriting files (when files are named the same) takes longer because of an issue with SKSE. It just takes longer, there’s no actual harm in it.

What’s the real answer?

Autosaves and Quicksaves are perfectly fine, but you should never overwrite files, as that may cause problems. Plus, you always want an old save to return to in case something bad happens to your more recent saves. Don’t overwrite or delete saves!